Government Expands Specialized Police and Mental Health Team in Saskatoon

November 28, 2014

The Government of Saskatchewan is continuing its support of Saskatoon’s Police and Crisis Team (PACT), a unique initiative that changes the way mental health crises are handled in Saskatoon.

“As the first program of its kind in Saskatchewan, PACT represents an innovative way of handling police calls in mental health crises,” Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell said.  “We are grateful to our partners for their assistance in developing this proactive approach.”

Each unit consists of a member of the Saskatoon Police Service and a mental health worker from the Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Service who work in partnership to respond to mental health crises in the community.  PACT’s goal is to reduce risks to community safety and ensure people experiencing mental health crises receive appropriate medical assistance.

Corrections and Policing through the Ministry of Justice has provided $220,000 for PACT’s two police officer positions as part of its Municipal Police Grants program.  The Ministry of Health has provided $250,000 funding for the two mental health worker positions through its Emergency Department Waits and Patient Flow Initiative.

“This program is already showing that timely interventions can be effective at diverting clients to the right services in the community, rather than a frustrating wait at the emergency department,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said.

After a successful pilot in 2012, the first PACT unit began operating in June 2014 and was expanded to include a second unit this fall.  Saskatoon Police Service members respond to approximately 5,000 calls per year that involve persons experiencing a mental health crisis in the community.  Since the program began, the unit has responded to more than 80 mental health crises in Saskatoon.

“PACT is another example of how police, health and the community can work together,” Saskatoon Police Service Chief Clive Weighill said.  “We are pleased we are able to build on its success with assistance from the province.”

PACT aligns with the Building Partnerships to Reduce Crime initiative, as well as the government’s priority of providing mental health and addictions services in the province.

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For more information, contact:

Linsay Rabyj
Justice
Regina
Phone: 306-787-0775
Email: linsay.rabyj@gov.sk.ca

Alyson Edwards
Saskatoon Police Service
Saskatoon
Phone: 306-975-8209
Email: alyson.edwards@police.saskatoon.ca

Tyler McMurchy
Health
Regina
Phone: 306-787-4083
Email: tmcmurchy@health.gov.sk.ca

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